MLB Rumors

Yankees' Mark Teixeira: A-Rod 'will be fine over there' at first base
by Igor Mello |

Yankees infielder Alex Rodriguez shifted across the infield on Friday. The embattled slugger fielded grounders and took part in various drills including bunt defense, according to the Associated Press.

Rodriguez missed all of last season after being suspended for his involvement in the Biogenesis scandal. With Chase Headley slated to be the team's starting third baseman, Rodriguez will compete for at-bats as a designated hitter and could see some time behind Headley at third and Mark Teixeira at first.

Teixeira told reporters that Rodriguez will fit just fine at first.

"I think what will make Alex have a shorter learning curve is his baseball IQ," Teixeira said, per Newsday. "He'll be fine over there."

Rodriguez, who will turn 40 in July, hit .244/.348/.423 over 156 at-bats back in 2013. He will begin early workouts on Saturday.

Share: Twitter Facebook
Melvin: Failed talks to acquire Papelbon led to K-Rod contract
by Michael Hurcomb |

Brewers general manager Doug Melvin said the decision to sign closer Francisco Rodriguez to a two-year contract happened because talks were going nowhere in their attempt to acquire Phillies closer Jonathan Papelbon.

“We did engage them and didn’t come to a comparable deal for both sides,” Melvin told the Milwaukee Journal Sentinel. “We had a lot of conversations. It’s complicated because of next year with the $13 million (vesting option). Even if you agree to a deal, you have to go to the agent about the no-trade (clause to Milwaukee)."

Papelbon will be paid $13 million next season if he finishes 48 games in 2015.

Share: Twitter Facebook
Angels 1B Albert Pujols: Bring on the shift
by R.J. White |

Angels first baseman Albert Pujols found himself batting against the shift more than any other player in 2014, but he said Thursday he's happy to take on the altered defensive alignment, reports.

"They think they're screwing with your mind, but actually it's worse because they're telling you how they're going to pitch to you," Pujols said. "So actually it's the opposite. It's helping a hitter to know how they're going to pitch to you."

Pujols also said his right knee, on which he underwent arthroscopic surgery in 2012, finally feels good again.

"Just crossing my fingers," Pujols said. "It's a long season."

Pujols hit .272/.324/.466 with 28 home runs and 105 RBI in 633 at-bats in 2014.

Share: Twitter Facebook
Phillies' McClure: Cliff Lee feels really good, right on schedule
by Michael Hurcomb |

Phillies starting pitcher Cliff Lee, who missed the final two months of the 2014 season with an elbow strain, is slated to make his spring debut Thursday against the Astros. He is expected to throw two innings.

Lee, who will throw his second live batting practice session Saturday, is on schedule with the rest of the team's starting pitchers.

"He's thrown well," pitching coach Bob McClure said, per The Philadelphia Inquirer. "He feels really good, so he's right on schedule."

Share: Twitter Facebook
Braves' Rio Ruiz 'happy' with trade, impressing Pendleton in camp
by R.J. White |

Braves third base prospect Rio Ruiz expressed happiness about being dealt to Atlanta as part of the package the Braves received for Evan Gattis, the Atlanta Journal-Constitution reports.

"Initially (the trade) was overwhelming," Ruiz said. "Then I looked at the big picture and I was happy with it. I watched the Braves growing up, and my dad just talked about the guys that came through this system and played in the big leagues."

Braves first-base coach Terry Pendleton, who was named National League MVP in 1991 as a member of the Braves, likes what he's seen from Ruiz in the early stages of spring training.

"I watched him play a little defense — he’s got a little work to do," Pendleton said. "But offensively, he’s sound. Really sound offensively. Just watching him in the cage, he’s inside the ball (with his swing). He’s what you want a young kid to be coming up so all you’ve got to do is tweak here and there. That’s what he looks like anyway."

Ruiz, 20, is expected to begin the season with Double-A Mississippi. He hit .293/.387/.436 with 11 home runs, 77 RBI and four stolen bases in 516 at-bats with high Class A Lancaster in 2014.

Share: Twitter Facebook
Phillies still hopeful Jesse Biddle will develop into MLB starter
by Michael Hurcomb |

Phillies pitching coach Bob McClure has been impressed early on in camp with starting pitcher prospect Jesse Biddle, according to

“Very impressive,” McClure said. “When you have that type of arm and you see a guy be able to control everything, it’s fun to watch. Of course, it’s not to Cliff Lee or Cole Hamels yet, but I mean, you can see it getting there someday possibly if he goes about everything right. It’s impressive to watch. The accuracy, the flow, how easy it was just to throw that hard. It looks really good.”

Biddle is coming off a down year in 2014, which included taking time off for what general manager Ruben Amaro Jr. termed a "mental break, and is no longer considered one of the Phillies' top prospects.

However, the team remains hopeful he will be able to bounce back.

“I think it’s an important year for him because last year was a tough one and he’s got some things to overcome,” Amaro said. “But if and when he does, he’s going to be a quality product.

“We love his stuff. We think he’s got a chance to be a very productive major-league pitcher. It’s just a matter of getting back on track."

Share: Twitter Facebook
D-Backs' Aaron Hill making strong impression early on in camp
by Michael Hurcomb |

Diamondbacks second baseman Aaron Hill has left a strong impression on chief baseball officer Tony La Russa through the early days of spring training, per

"He definitely is in the competition for playing time," La Russa said. "That's just front office talking, remember that, because [manager] Chip [Hale] makes out the lineup. I'm just echoing what Chip has seen. I'm sure he would say the same thing to you."

Share: Twitter Facebook
D-Backs might find a way to keep Jake Lamb on roster
by Michael Hurcomb |

While the Diamondbacks are trying to see if Yasmany Tomas can develop into a starting third baseman at the major-league level, Jake Lamb is doing his best this spring to make sure the Diamondbacks don't forget about him, per

"He just looks great," Diamondbacks chief baseball officer Tony La Russa said. "I didn't see him last spring so I don't have anything to compare it to. I saw him at the end of the season, he could have been worn down. His talent is oozing. Believe me, at the point we're a contending club there is room for both of those guys [Tomas and Lamb] on the team. It's not that tough to figure out. They can't both play third base, but you could be creative. Get the best players on the field."

Share: Twitter Facebook
White Sox's Robertson won't see 'ton of opportunities' in Cactus League
by Igor Mello |

Because his role on the team is already defined, White Sox closer David Robertson is not expected to see "a ton of opportunities" during the Cactus League season, according to ESPN.

"Even talking to him, he doesn't need a lot of appearances to really be ready," manager Robin Ventura said. "I think more goes on what he does right now (in workouts before games). I know he's not going to sit there and have 20 appearances in spring training just to be ready. I would say 10, or less. Really it's up to him. He's been around long enough to understand what he needs to be ready."

Robertson signed four-year, $46 million deal with the White Sox this offseason, and is entering camp with high expectations. He converted 39 of 44 save opportunities in 2014 for the Yankees, registering a 3.08 ERA and a 1.06 WHIP over 64 1/3 innings of work.

"I really ease into spring training," Robertson said. "We've got 45 days here to get ready. If I can’t be ready in 45 days, there's something wrong. I look at it as a chance to get out here and slowly get yourself acclimated and get back to playing baseball. Obviously I've done things in the offseason to get my body to where it needs to be. It's just a matter of getting back on the field and getting in tune with everything."

Share: Twitter Facebook
Mariners catcher prospect John Hicks on the radar for MLB callup
by Michael Hurcomb |

Mariners catcher John Hicks might not be on the radar as an elite prospect, but after posting a .288/.337/.419/.756 slash line through four minor-league seasons, he at least has the attention of the Mariners' decision makers.

“He’s a catcher who has the ability to do a lot of things,” manager Lloyd McClendon said, per The News Tribune. “His bat plays. He’s got a bright future. He’ll probably see significant playing time this spring.”

Hicks is expected to open the season at Triple-A Tacoma, but he could make his MLB debut in 2015.

“Listen, you’re on the 40-man roster,” McClendon said. “You’re on that roster for a reason. That’s to (the club to) protect you in case we have injuries. Then you move up.

“So, yeah, there’s a chance he could see time in the big leagues this year if there’s an injury.”

Share: Twitter Facebook


Most Popular